Is Kevin Durant Really the Best In the World?

image

By: Opinionated MJ

Burning question,
Is Kevin Durant truly the best player in the world? Russell Westbrook thinks so. He let it fly out his mouth right after he led the Thunder to an opening night win over the Spurs. Let’s break this down a bit and figure if this can be proven across the board.

Scoring

Kevin Durant is arguably one of the top 3 scorers in the game along with Stephen Curry and Carmelo Anthony. If I had to pick, right now, I’d put him third. Yes third. He’s not as effective a shooter as Curry from distance and he hasn’t yet become a force once he gets in the paint like Anthony. Anthony can start in the perimeter area and work himself all the way to the rim by grinding his way there with post moves. It’s not fair to judge him after just one game this season but we do measure players by success against great defenders. Kawhi Leonard simply denied Kevin and many of the Thunder anything easy.

Defense

I’m going to get straight to the point with this topic by saying that I have not seen Durant lock down anyone and I haven’t seen him play defense that limits the opponent’s best player or the opponent’s best 2 way player. He didn’t stop Kawhi tonight, I haven’t seen him make Carmelo uncomfortable, LeBron, Jimmy Butler, Paul George, I could go on. So is he like James Harden with defense? No, but he definitely isn’t Scottie Pippen.

Does he make his teammates better?

I don’t know if I could say he’s even better than Russell when it comes to this. Yes, I’ve seen Durant make his teammates better, when Russell was down which was the reason he won an MVP award. He definitely made the team better two seasons ago but not so much when everyone is healthy. His presence does allow for better spacing for shooters that share the floor with him and for Russell to dart wherever he pleases at will. One game doesn’t tell it but we’ll see in about a month or two. Right now, Russell is bringing it on a nightly basis, creating opportunities for others, setting his teammates up and also putting his team is position to score. This comes down to one thing though, chemistry and rhythm. Durant didn’t play much with the new faces of the team. Russell nearly willed them to the post-season. Durant makes his teammates better but in order for him to win another MVP, of course he has to score, set his teammates up, get at least 7 assists per game and make it look pretty. It’s called the LeBron rule.

I think I’ve covered enough to say that Durant is probably tied for second with LeBron in the newly minted MVP race. Steph Curry is clearly the front runner, yes, after one game. He’s defending his honor. Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins fill out that top 5 in the MVP race in my honest opinion, with Westbrook and Harden right there too. Interesting MVP race we’ll have if they all stay healthy. So to answer Russell Westbrook’s claim that Durant is the best in the world, well, nothing is given. Unfortunately, Durant was out much of last year. He’s in line again and just like everyone else, he has to earn it.

Just Another First Day In The NBA

stephen-curry--the-nbas-mvp--has-the-biggest-bargain-contract-in-the-league
By: Opinionated MJ

Just another first day in the NBA. New season, new year, opening night (currently the Warriors are receiving their rings, Congrats!). I just experienced what could just be a rusty day in the NBA, or maybe not. Surprisingly, two teams came out victorious that I’m sure everyone would’ve bet against on this opening night. All the big media outlets have been turning a cold shoulder to teams like my Detroit Pistons and to the always competing Chicago Bulls. Tonight seemed to be a statement of sorts if we look at things progressively. You know, picking up where they left off.

Right now as I write, Steph Curry is already showing out and very efficiently! Which can take me right into the new playing style of the Bulls. I think they may have found themselves a two-man game with Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler and have parts around them like Gasol, Mirotic, and others that definitely make for great depth. Noah has been moved to the bench in favor of starting Gasol at center, at least for now. Gasol didn’t disappoint either as he blocked LeBron’s game tying attempt at the rim. Looks can be deceiving and people get too caught up nowadays in who’s getting along and who isn’t. Didn’t Kobe & Shaq win 3 titles “not getting along”?

Today I seen LeBron hobbled. I don’t we’re ready for that. Last year they were trying to say that he has taken a step back, but I never agreed. I don’t want to see LeBron injured cause that’s even more fuel for his die-hard fans to spew about him being 2-4 in the Finals. We swept the San Antonio series under the rug, everyone else said that the Golden State win was a fluke although Cleveland led 2-1, took home court and didn’t take care of home. No way can 67 wins be cut up as a fluke. It CANNOT. Enough blah blah, LeBron didn’t look 100% tonight but was still good for 25 & 10 rebounds. So much for that right? I still don’t think he’s taken a step back but I did look at him allow Jimmy Butler to go right past him a couple of times when he could’ve easily denied him. I also hope he’s not about to channel his inner Steve Nash by laying on the ground the rest of his playing career during games. I also hope he doesn’t get hit with those back issues that destroyed the rest of Tracy McGrady’s career in his prime. I do enjoy watching LeBron and being a Kobe fan, I’ve learned to appreciate different forms of greatness while it’s here and performing at elite levels. *Knocks on wood*

I also watched my young Pistons play a very defensive game against the Hawks… until the fourth quarter. It’s like the tide turned but I still came away very impressed with our newly minted 1-0 record. I’m used to seeing 0-1. I also seen a lot of bright spots like Caldwell-Pope making shots, Morris making shots and moving around in a way that seemed impossible for Greg Monroe to move. I seen a few good things from Reggie Jackson but I also seen him hold the ball too long a few times. It made it seem as if he wanted to be responsible for every converted play like he couldn’t live without being responsible for the assists. He’ll have to get over that individual mentality and not fall into selfishness if he’s to be a true help for this team. I’m sure Jennings will distribute when he returns. Drummond was an absolute rebounding BEAST! As far as the Hawks go, I think that alot of people see them as garbage because of them being swept by the Cavs in the east finals. I guess having injuries to their top 2 defenders didn’t matter though right? Nor did the Wizards losing John Wall for a couple games against the Hawks, huh? It only mattered when LeBron played the Warriors. Sure.

Exciting night with a few different looks from teams who seemed to be looking forward to a slump early on but actually look promising. It could be rust but this season we could see more of this with the East getting slightly better by growth and expansion for teams like the Wizards, Bucks, Heat, Pistons, and Raptors. We’re due some surprises. We could also expect to see more of the same out west with all of the sluggers getting better with San Antonio adding LMA to its rotation after allowing Tiago Splitter to walk. I expect to see it come down to Golden State, OKC with a driven KD & Russell and San Antonio. Everyone else has to prove it.

Early June Prediction: Warriors vs Cavs II, with the Heat & Thunder looking to steal those spots.